Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Planned Parenthood considers a pro-choice ballot initiative in Michigan to combat 'undemocratic' anti-abortion measures

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 12:05 PM

click to enlarge RENA SCHILD / SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Rena Schild / Shutterstock

Planned Parenthood is gearing up for an abortions rights battle in Michigan.

The organization is reportedly considering a pro-choice ballot initiative for the November 2020 ballot. Though only reportedly in its earliest exploratory stages, the organization is looking at ways to combat two anti-abortion proposals that are on the way to gaining the 340,047 signatures needed by mid-December to proceed to Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature, where they are expected to pass. The potential initiative also comes in anticipation of a possible U.S. Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto any anti-abortion bills that come to her desk, but a citizens' initiative could circumvent her signature. And even though the anti-abortion groups are collecting signatures to put them on the November 2020 ballot, they don't actually need to get that far for them to pass. Michigan’s Constitution allows the Legislature to enact a ballot initiative first, without Whitmer's signature or without a citizens' vote — a sidestep that critics call "undemocratic" in spirit.



"We think it's really clear that there's no intent to put these on the ballot,” Lori Carpentier, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, told The Detroit News. "And yet, that's what they're gathering signatures to do." ("That's not deceitful; that's specifically written in the Constitution," Genevieve Marnon of anti-abortion group Right to Life told the paper. "I didn't write those rules. Right to Life didn’t write those rules. And those rules apply to everyone equally.")

One of the anti-abortion measures seeks to ban dilation and evacuation, a procedure most commonly used in the second trimester. The other would ban abortions after embryonic cardiac activity is detected.

Michigan's anti-abortion efforts appear to be part of a coordinated, nationwide effort to bring the abortion issue to the Supreme Court — which moved to the right after the confirmation of Justice Brett "I like beer" Kavanaugh — to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.

"A movement, I feel like, is even too small of a word," Alexis McGill Johnson, who became Planned Parenthood's new leader in July, told The Detroit News. "There is just an active extremist effort designed to take away and restrict women's access to reproductive health care and health care in a general way."

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